Tuesday, August 17, 2004

But "Glaring Angrily Matilda" Doesn't Scan!

Memo to Hollywood: WHY DO YOU HATE US?
Actually, that's a stupid question. They hate us because we are so very hatable. We earn Hollywood's hate every time we go see "Alien Vs. Predator" or "White Chicks". Every time we engage in any interaction anywhere at any time with anyone who fancies himself to be a "Blue Collar Comic". When we do these things, it's like we put hate in the bank, and eventually we are then handed back that hate with interest by a cold, unfeeling entertainment industry who wants nothing more than to destroy our very souls and have us pay them for the privilege.
And I'm fine with that. Up to a point. But there is a point beyond which Hollywood's inhumanity to man exceeds even a very judicious application of karmic payback. A point beyond which audience abuse ceases to be a fun little game we all can enjoy, you know, like cockfighting, and becomes a horrible ritual of gratuitous pain and suffering. You know, like if there were a version of cockfighting where instead of chickens, there were cute puppies, and instead of fighting, there were large men with iron mallets playing Amish Whackamole*.
That level of abject cruelty can be summed up in a single, informative sentence, taken from a leading DVD news site regarding upcoming Warner Bros. releases. If you have a weak stomach or a mild constitution, you may want to skip this, as it is horrific beyond belief.
"And finally, look for the direct-to-video animated Kangaroo Jack: G'Day USA! on November 16th. This disc features both 16x9 and fullscreen transfers and unannounced extras. Retail is $24.98." This is the kind of sentence that should be engraved in some runic script of a forgotten tongue on the side of a rock in the middle of a barren wasteland where the natives dare not go. It should not be lying around on otherwise respectable Internet where people can read it by accident.
It's the sentence equivalent of a Shit Pyramid, one of the nine wonders of a world gone horribly wrong. At the base of the shit pyramid is, of course, the central concept, "Kangaroo Jack". Kangaroo Jack is the "Play It Again, Sam" of ubercrappy wacky comedies, in that everyone is convinced it is an ubercrappy wacky comedy about a talking kangaroo, when in fact the kangaroo talking is only part of some fantasy sequence midfilm. So while it is a film about a kangaroo that talks, it is not a film about a talking kangaroo. You would think this level of semantic nitpickery would be above a film like "Kangaroo Jack", but we have to retain our dwindling sanity somehow.
Then, one level up, we have those dreaded words, "direct-to-video", which, along with the implied "sequel", are four words that have never helped anybody ever. On top of that, we have "animated". So not only are they making a sequel, and not only are they not bothering to put it into theaters, but they're not even bothering to hire actors and special effects artists. They'll just have a bunch of Koreans drawing kangaroos for fifty cents an hour. And what's worse, an animated sequel opens the doors to "Kangaroo Jack: The Series", and the resulting mass suicides and general hysteria that would follow.
Moving up the Shit Pyramid, we come to "G'Day USA!". Now first of all, I am still not convinced that Australians actually ever said "G'Day" to each other on a regular basis. But even assuming they did, I can only imagine they'd have collectively decided to stop doing it a minimum of fifteen years ago out of sheer annoyance. In fact, if I were Australian, I'd constantly be making up ridiculous shit to say on the off chance an American would hear me and use it in the title of their shitty Australia movie. And second, "USA". Is there some kind of federal mandate that Australians who get sequels have to come to the U.S.? Some kind of Paul Hogan NAFTA thing? After all, I'm pretty sure that at this point, thanks to global telecommunications networks and the advance of civilization, that most Australians are well aware of what "cars" and "McDonalds" are, so the whole "culture shock" thing can be buried for good, thanks.
"Kangaroo Jack: G'Day USA!" will be provided in both widescreen and fullscreen aspect ratios. This is, of course, so that people purchasing "Kangaroo Jack: G'Day USA!" have the widest possible freedom of choice when it comes to audiovisual presentation, and those who wish are able to see the full vision of the director as he intended it.
Oh, and it lists for twenty five bucks, which is just insulting. It's insulting even when you consider that with a list of $25, it'll sell for $20 nearly everywhere ($27.95 at Suncoast), be on sale for $15 its first week of release, and then be stacked like cordwood on the $4.99 rack at Target by mid-January. Twenty five bucks for a direct-to-video ,animated, full-frame DVD Kangaroo Jack culture shock fish out of water sequel. That's our entertainment industry, never passing up the chance to redefine "unmitigated gall".
*The use of the phrase "Amish Whackamole" is merely intended to imply that traditional Whackamole requires electricity, and in the absence of such, an alternative means of playing it would have to be found. It is not meant to imply that the Amish pound puppies** with iron mallets for sport. That's just the way they make butter.
**That's a verb, as opposed to "Amish Pound Puppies" the noun, which would refer to the least successful new toy line of 1987.